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Livability

Livable communities are healthy, safe, and walkable, with transportation choices for timely access to schools, jobs, services, health care, and basic needs. They are what attracts residents and businesses to our region. GO TO 2040 addresses livability factors that offer residents a "sense of place."

They provide opportunities for residents to participate in recreation, the arts, and local government. CMAP's work plan emphasizes the following livability topics:

Livability Updates

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May 27, 2015  

Great Rivers Chicago survey

The City of Chicago and the Metropolitan Planning Council , in partnership with Friends of the Chicago River and many others, will creatively reimagine more than 100 miles of Chicago's... Read More About Great Rivers Chicago survey
May 27, 2015  

Tree replacement funding

Communities located within the Millennium Reserve can apply for U.S. Forest Service funding for ash tree replacements.  The request for proposals will be available from June 1 through... Read More About Tree replacement funding
May 27, 2015  

EnviroFlash challenge

The Illinois Partners for Clean Air organization is competing in a nationwide challenge to increase the number of EnviroFlash subscribers. Developed by the Illinois EPA and U.S. EPA, this tool... Read More About EnviroFlash challenge
May 27, 2015  

The Village of South Holland comprehensive plan

The Village of South Holland is home to thriving retail and industrial corridors. To evaluate the challenges and opportunities both within its borders and in the south suburban sub-region, the... Read More About The Village of South Holland comprehensive plan
May 27, 2015  

Public meetings in Pilsen and Little Village

Residents and stakeholders are invited to share thoughts and priorities for the development of the Pilsen and Little Village land use plan at a series of community workshops in June.  The... Read More About Public meetings in Pilsen and Little Village
May 18, 2015  

Municipal water conservation and efficiency

As the region's population increases, withdrawals from Lake Michigan, groundwater sources, and inland rivers must be balanced with demand projections to attain long-term sustainability. Water... Read More About Municipal water conservation and efficiency
May 18, 2015  

The value of green infrastructure

The Green Infrastructure Vision (GIV) is a spatial dataset representing the Chicago Wilderness Biodiversity Recovery Plan.  The GIV data help to inform conservation and restoration... Read More About The value of green infrastructure
May 12, 2015  

Watershed planning

CMAP has been involved in the development of numerous watershed plans in northeastern Illinois as a key step of implementing the Areawide Water Quality Management Plan.  Watershed planning... Read More About Watershed planning
May 6, 2015  

Stormwater utility seminar

In partnership with the Illinois Association for Floodplain and Stormwater Management (IAFSM) and Michael Baker International, CMAP will host a  stormwater utility seminar  on... Read More About Stormwater utility seminar
May 5, 2015  

2016 joint call for planning projects

CMAP, the Regional Transportation Authority (RTA), and the Cook County Department of Public Health (CCDPH) released a call for local projects across metropolitan Chicago through the RTA ... Read More About 2016 joint call for planning projects
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The cumulative choices of 284 municipalities and seven counties determine quality of life and economic prosperity across our region. With local autonomy over land use comes the responsibility to consider how those decisions shape a community's livability, including how they affect neighboring communities and the region as a whole. As a region, we need to implement policies and investments that make livability the highest priority.
 
Livable communities are created through effective planning and decisions by local officials, developers, and individual residents. Therefore, one of GO TO 2040's highest priorities is to promote comprehensive planning in communities across our seven counties. This includes not only land use and transportation planning, but also planning for future housing supply and demand, and ensuring that local zoning ordinances are aligned with local plans. 
 
GO TO 2040 also recommends the use of green techniques for new development and redevelopment to improve energy efficiency, while also helping to reduce water consumption and improve stormwater management. Though we live in an area where fresh water seems abundant, our water is not a limitless resource. Over the next 30 years, water and energy resources will likely become more limited, affecting residents, businesses, and local governments alike. Improving our water and energy efficiency will save money and head off shortages that could profoundly affect our quality of life.
 
Residents in livable communities tend to make fewer automobile trips, which will reduce fuel consumption and pollution from transportation, our region's second greatest source of greenhouse gas emissions—mostly from cars and trucks. When residents are able to live near their jobs, it helps to reduce travel costs, pollution, and congestion. Efficient use of land that supports walking, bicycling, and access to transit also reduces energy consumption—saving money for individuals, communities, and the region. 
 
A century ago, Daniel Burnham understood that parks and open space were central to the region's quality of life and environment when developing the 1909 Plan of Chicago, which led to the network of parks, forest preserves, and lakefront areas that we now enjoy. Today, that network must grow along with our region through planned investments in a regional network of "green" infrastructure corridors that connect our parks and open spaces. The GO TO 2040 plan also calls for us to strengthen our region's food systems. Illinois has some of the most fertile soils in the country.  While Illinois farmers grow only six percent of the produce consumed in the state, we could grow much more. 
 
Our region faces significant obstacles to achieving livable communities. At present, many of us have no choice but to drive because our communities were designed primarily for car travel. Often residents live long distances from where they work because jobs and housing in our region are far apart. Too many communities lack access to parks and healthy food. And rapid consumption of land and other natural resources contributes to environmental problems across the region. By committing to achieving livability, local communities can help to create a more sustainable, prosperous, and economically competitive region. 
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